Five Maitland Public School students have created a book with a very strong environmental message around rubbish.
A visit to the Hunter River with the school's Waterwatch group inspired the text. They had hoped to see pristine water but instead they saw rubbish - and even an empty shopping trolley, in the water. They were shocked, and upset, about what they had seen.
When the opportunity came along to be part of the Every Bit Counts Enviro-Stories program Gabrielle Wilks, Claire Crouch, Rosie Davis, Charlotte Mence and Billy Smith jumped at the chance to spread their awareness message.
"Don't litter, put the rubbish in the bin instead, and use things that can break down," year 5 student Rosie Davis said.
The book took shape over a week and has recently been published. It tells the story of a plastic bag who initially screams "don't drop me" to its owner.
The bag is dropped onto the lawn and makes its way into the drain before rain pushes it out into the river.
While in the river the bag meets an old fish who reflects on how the river water used to be "crystal clear". The fish says it has often mistaken rubbish for food and that can make fish ill. A later encounter with a recyclable bag reinforces the clear impact on the environment.
"There is so much rubbish and a lot of marine and land animals are getting hurt and dying," year 5 student Gabrielle Wilks said.
"My family always use containers instead of plastic."